Why "the South" did not get a railroad to the Pacific


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trice

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Sirs, I've always been fascinated with the use of Land Grants. Recruiters were sent to Europe with literature and sales pitches of the wealth and bounty of the cheap available land and promises of each landholder a king. Some of these grants are still held by the descendant railroad corporations. The 'domestication' of these land grant plots not only increased the economic input to the 'grantee' rail lines but also increased the value of the surrounding and near-by acreage. The mid-country and northern routes at least provided some hope to prospective homesteaders as farm land, (up to the eastern side of the Rockies). What possible incentive could the rail companies provide to attract potential settlers to any southern route through west Texas, New Mexico, Arizona, and extreme southern California? The hydrocarbon bonanza was as yet unknown. Mining likewise. Irrigation infrastructure for current crops, (like cotton!), was a long way off. Ranching? Land Grants immediate worth were not only to sell to homesteaders but for loans and increased shareholder value. At the time frame we are reviewing, how much fiscal benefit would have been derived from land grants across New Mexico as opposed to say Nebraska or Minnesota?
3204

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USS ALASKA
Please see the Land Grants and Railroad development thread for my reply.
 

John Fenton

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The Memphis and Charleston was a Memphis effort not a Charleston effort.
Since the M&C connected with Savannah first it should be said the M&C was a Memphis effort to go east rather than a Charleston effort to go west. Surely Charleston was not happy about the event since most of SC’s railroads, at least the SCC&RR, were designed to capture Savannah commerce.
Add to that the fact that when the southern route TRR was finally completed it did not go to Memphis but rather to New Orleans. The M&C was content to get the cotton from north Alabama , Mississippi, and West Tennessee that could go by river to the northeast or south to New Orleans and supply subsistence crops from the upper mississippi to those areas.
 

USS ALASKA

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1867 --U.S. buys Alaska for $7.2 million. Russians sell it for that cheapo price because they see the TRR coming and figure it is only a matter of time before the U.S. finds a pretext and steals it, and then they will get nothing for it. Just a subtle perk of the TRR. The 19th century Russians understood more about the TRR than many Civil War historians and students with ostensibly 20-20 hindsight.
Sirs, Alaska may have cost much less than the posted price the US paid. The large differential was to repay the Czar.

"It has recently been disclosed that only $1,400,000 of the amount paid to Russia was for the acquisition of Alaska. The remaining $5,800,000 was to reimburse Russia for the expense to which she was put in sending a fleet to New York during the Civil War as a demonstration of friendship for the North." This coming from Muzzey, Vol. II p47, note.

This would make the cost of the purchase per acre at a little less than $0.004. Quite the bargain even if some economists have argued otherwise.
3321

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USS ALASKA
 
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uaskme

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Since the M&C connected with Savannah first it should be said the M&C was a Memphis effort to go east rather than a Charleston effort to go west. Surely Charleston was not happy about the event since most of SC’s railroads, at least the SCC&RR, were designed to capture Savannah commerce.
Add to that the fact that when the southern route TRR was finally completed it did not go to Memphis but rather to New Orleans. The M&C was content to get the cotton from north Alabama , Mississippi, and West Tennessee that could go by river to the northeast or south to New Orleans and supply subsistence crops from the upper mississippi to those areas.
Got a source for that? I would like to see it!
 

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John Fenton

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Got a source for that? I would like to see it!
It does not say it in a single sentence or from a single source and the one i am posting now may not be the ones I originally used but dates are dates. You do the math.
https://www.georgiaencyclopedia.org/articles/business-economy/railroads

https://www.georgiaencyclopedia.org/articles/business-economy/central-georgia-railway

The crossing [of the Savannah river ] was completed on April 8, 1853. Five years later, a contract was effected with the city of Augusta by which the company was permitted to connect its track with that of the Georgia Railroad.
https://www.carolana.com/SC/Transportation/railroads/sc_rrs_sc.html

So the South Carolina RR did not connect to augusta until 1858. The M&C connected to Stevenson and the N&C in 1857. The Railroads from Savannah were already built through to Chattanooga.
 
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USS ALASKA

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Sirs, a good visual representation of exactly which southern railroads went where can be found in Robert Black's 'Railroads of the Confederacy' map. If one does not have access to it, it is reproduced on @DaveBrt 's web site https://www.csa-railroads.com/

You can get from Memphis to Charleston via rail but not by one line. Charleston could link up with Memphis using the 'South Carolina' to Augusta, then the 'Georgia' to Atlanta, the 'Western & Atlantic' to Chattanooga, the 'East Tennessee & Georgia' & 'Memphis & Charleston' to Memphis. However, the same could be said for Norfolk, Wilmington, and Savannah - you can get there from here, just not on one line in 1861...
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USS ALASKA

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For an impoverished SC...
Nevertheless, six of the ten wealthiest states in 1860 were Southern –2. Lousiana,3. South Carolina 5.Mississippi, 8. Georgia, 9.Texas, 10. Kentucky.
Sirs - I be confused - not that that takes much. So was SC poor or the 3rd wealthiest state in the Union. We can't have it both ways...

Thanks for the help,
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USS ALASKA

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If anyone is smart enough to bring this particular post to this thread of @trice , I would appreciate it. :smile:
Sir, here you go...

...the below was originally posted by @unionblue here - https://civilwartalk.com/threads/tariffs.1205/page-55#post-1813708

From the book, Reluctant Confederates, by Daniel W. Crofts, chapter 5, page 106, paragraph 2:

"First, upper South Unionists saw no economic advantage in joining an independent slave South. They rejected secessionist arguments that an identity of economic interests linked all slaveholding states. Many Unionists hoped that the economy of the upper South would increasingly develop along the pattern of adjoining northern states, with a diversified base of agriculture, industry, and trade. They insisted that the economic interests of the "grain growing states" of the upper South would be sacrificed in a "Cotton Confederacy" led by South Carolina. "Slavery is the great ruling interest of the extreme Gulf States," one Unionist observed, but the states of the upper South had "great interests besides slavery, which cannot be lightly abandoned."

Virginia Unionists insisted that the economic consequences of secession would be bleak. The two leading Unionists in the Virginia convention, John B. Baldwin and George W. Summers, warned repeatedly that Virginia's commercial and industrial interests were "bound up with the free states of the border." Baldwin noted that wheat, tobacco, livestock, and garden crops from eastern Virginia were sold in Baltimore and the cities of the Northeast. Summers explained that customers on both sides of the Ohio and upper Mississippi rivers bought the salt and coal produced in his home region, the Kanawha Valley. In the northwestern Virginia panhandle, wedged snugly along the Ohio River between the two free states of Ohio and Pennsylvania, secession appeared economically suicidal. The editor of the Wheeling Intelligencer predicted that "it would kill us off as a city more completely than a big fire...We should sink day by day until we got to be a poor, miserable, penniless, decayed country town."

Virginia manfacturing interests had no wish to join a southern nation dominated by free traders, who opposed any protective tariff for industry. One Unionist from Alexandria predicted that an independent South would seek close commercial ties with England and France, which would tend to keep the South an agricultural exporter, dependent on a supply of imported manufactured goods. "What will become," he asked, "of the promised manufacturing industry and enterprise of Virginia and the other border States of which we hear so much?" Virginia Unionists also suspected that deep South secessionists intended to reopen the African slave trade, thereby depressing slave prices and benefiting the slave-importing states in the lower South at the expense of the slave-exporting states in the upper South. Virginia Unionists thus dismissed secessionist assertions about the bright economic future their state would enjoy in a cotton confederacy. They concluded instead that the economic interests of the upper and lower South were "irreconcilably antagonistic" and "in direct collision."

Parts of North Carolina and Tennessee had more significant economic ties with the deep South than did Virginia. In Memphis, Charlotte, and Wilmington, secessionists contended that any political seperation between the upper and lower South would prove an economic nightmare. But Unionists in North Carolina and Tennessee echoed many of the same economic themes used by their counterparts in Virginia. They complained that a southern nation based on South Carolina's "Free Trade, and African Slave Trade Doctrines, would be ruinous to us." Many feared that secession would foreclose future industrial development and economic diversification. In Nashville and the adjacent Cumberland Valley region, the largest manufacturing center in Tennessee, secession had few friends. The owner of a Nashville foundry and machine shop complained to Andrew Johnson that "this mad rush after dissolution" was undermining "all commerce and manufacturs and enterprize." Having already laid off many of his hundred-man work force, Thomas M. Brennan implored Johnson "for God sake try to save this Union." and prevent secessionists from completing "the ruin that had been commenced."

Unionists also pointed out that secession directly theatened two major upper South internal improvement projects, the James River and Kanawha Canal and the Southern Pacific Railroad. Virginia's incomplete canal remained an unhappy symbol of how the state government had shortchanged western interests. Extended gradually west to two towns in the Valley by the early 1840s, the canal had never been completed across the thirty-mile gap between the headwaters of the James and the Kanawha, nor had the segment down the latter to the Ohio been built. In 1860, a French and Belgian consortium, Bellot des Meniers and Company, proposed to assume both the assets of the canal company and its obligation to extend the canal to the Ohio. Strongly endorsed by the governor in January 1861, the sale of the canal awaited legislative approval. Unionists complained that the uproar over secession threatened to sabotage the arrangement and "render the entire work utterly useless and valueless."

Secession also rudely interrupted a grandiose effort to build a southern transcontinental railroad from east Texas to southern California. Most of the chief promoters of the scheme were from Tennessee, which had just experienced a fast-paced decade of railroad construction that gave it rail links extending to the seaboard and up and down the Mississippi Valley. By 1860, managers of the Southern Pacific Rail Road Company were negotiating with the same European consortium that had bid to finish the Virginia canal. Only a twenty-seven mile segment of the railroad had been completed, enabling cotton planters in fertile Harrison County, Texas, to move their crops to the Red River west of Shreveport, Louisiana. But the state of Texas had pledged substantial assistance, and even more liberal aid from Congress was judged a realistic possibility. Compared to the canal project, which included two hundred miles of finished waterway that had been functioning for decades, the railroad would appear to have been more visionary and speculative. It was, however, more in tune with the economic trends of the era. The James River and Kanawha Canal would never be completed, whereas a southern transcontinental railroad eventually would. But the Southern Pacific's 1861 promoters found to their dismay that the spread of secession blighted hopes for congressional aid and European investment. Congress lost interest in subsidizing the project when Texas seceded from the Union, which in turn discouraged the Europeans. Directors of the Southern Pacific, hoping to salvage something, threw themselves into the campaign to save the Union. They hoped that if the upper South remained in the Union, the deep South might be persuaded to return."

Again, more evidence that the tariff was not a reason for the South to leave the Union, as it appears that it was not mainly just a Southern issue, as shown with Virginia and its attitude about the tariff. In chapter six, page 140, another example that tariffs were more of a national than sectional/Northern interest:

"By the end of January, perceptive secessionists recognized the likelihood of a "defeat in Virginia and all the rest of the border States." An observer from Georgia reported that several economic issues had aided (Southern) Unionists. The "manufacturing interest of Virginia" suspected that a southern Confederacy would destroy tariff barriers and "establish free trade." Worries that "navigation of the Mississippi will be obstructed and that the slave trade will be reopened" had also weakened the secession cause in the upper South."

As for the transcontinental railroad, seems like the South had something going there for a while, didn't it?

Unionblue

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John Fenton

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You can get from Memphis to Charleston via rail but not by one line.
but not in 1857 although you could get to savannah from memphis in 1857 . The SCC&RR reached Hamburg in 1833, crossed the Savannah river in 1853 and took another 5 years to connect to the Georgia RR in Augusta. That means Savannah connected to Memphis a year before Charleston did. What was Charleston and the SCRR doing for 25 years and why ? the answer , of course, is securing SC commerce for Charleston and away from Savannah. they were not co-operating but competing. when Savannah became connected to central Georgia , north Alabama, north mississippi , and west tennessee the writing was on the wall and Charleston had to give up it's SC monopoly and compete regionally.
my point is that the railroad network originated in Memphis and terminated in the east at Savannah and Charleston. also the line west only went halfway through arkansas. when a southern TRR route was finally established it went to New Orleans , not Memphis.
going west the Memphis and Little Rock reached Madison (40 mi west of Memphis) in 1858 and Little Rock in 1871.
i also just learned that with the completion of the connection at Stevenson to Chattnooga a link was created to Virginia.
when reading the history of the M&C it always states a connection between Memphis , on the Mississippi, to the Atlantic Coast in 1857, but it never says Charleston.
 

CSA Today

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Sirs - I be confused - not that that takes much. So was SC poor or the 3rd wealthiest state in the Union. We can't have it both ways...

Thanks for the help,
USS ALASKA
South Carolina ranked 3rd in per capita wealth in 1860, she ranked 37th in 1880.
E. Merton Coulter, The South During Reconstruction, 1865-1877, p. !92.
 

uaskme

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It does not say it in a single sentence or from a single source and the one i am posting now may not be the ones I originally used but dates are dates. You do the math.
https://www.georgiaencyclopedia.org/articles/business-economy/railroads

https://www.georgiaencyclopedia.org/articles/business-economy/central-georgia-railway

The crossing [of the Savannah river ] was completed on April 8, 1853. Five years later, a contract was effected with the city of Augusta by which the company was permitted to connect its track with that of the Georgia Railroad.
https://www.carolana.com/SC/Transportation/railroads/sc_rrs_sc.html

So the South Carolina RR did not connect to augusta until 1858. The M&C connected to Stevenson and the N&C in 1857. The Railroads from Savannah were already built through to Chattanooga.

Thanks for your post
 
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James Lutzweiler

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A couple general things to keep in mind about Charleston and railroads:

1. It was DeWitt Clinton's "Ditch," i.e., the Erie Canal, that inflamed Charlestonian imaginations back on October 26, 1825. The canal had the effect of making NYC the #1 port city in America, blasting forever from any realistic hope of recovery Charleston as the premier port city in America.

2. In 1830, Charleston named its first steam engine "The Best Friend of Charleston." It did not name slavery as such or cotton or plantation dirt or rice. It named a steam engine --and all that is implied in that engine-- its "Best Friend." Indeed it was. And it was one passenger on this train that went back to New York and told her father about it, whereupon he and others built the Erie Railroad that in turn blasted the Erie Canal and all other canals out of competition with railroads.

3. DeWitt Clinton, who supervised the construction of the "Ditch" named in is honor, became the role model for Abraham Lincoln. More so than Henry Clay. Read Ward Hill Lamon's bio of Lincoln for this and other RR facts about attorney Abe. As I recall, David Donald missed this important fact in his bio of AL. If there had been a Hall of Fame for Railroaders as early as the late 1830s, Abe would be in it.

4. William Freehling delivers a wonderful discussion of the RR travels of SC and Georgia Secessionists in December 1860. It is not difficult to project from the literal --and imaginative, especially the imaginative-- intoxication of those passengers what such RR transportation could do in the American West that was so distant from the center of power and supply lines of the U.S. Army.

5. Charleston never lost sight of these facts.

In my view, the TRR was simply the flash point that made SC loft its "Hail Mary" pass for a touchdown in California. To some degree the election of Lincoln is synonymous with the first TRR, as that is what his life was all about. It makes perfect sense that Secession began in earnest in Charleston rather than in Norfolk, Wilmington, Savannah, Jacksonville, Pensacola, Mobile, New Orleans, or Galveston. Charleston launched its first RR to steal the cotton trade from Savannah. From that moment forward Municipal and territorial theft for trade purposes became the norm. By 1861, every city in America became a potential "port" city, exponentially changing the commercial landscape of the U.S. Just imagine: Atlanta became a port city without a decent river --all because Charleston was moving West. Atlanta was a direct result of Charleston's 1830 initiaitive; and the Memphis and Charleston RR remained important enough that the Battles of Shiloh and Corinth were fought because of it.

Just a few thoughts.

James
 
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John Fenton

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Just imagine: Atlanta became a port city without a decent river --all because Charleston was moving West.
Imagination - the act or power of forming a mental image of something not present — a creation of the mind. Charleston did not move beyond state lines for twenty years while Atlanta was created by the imagination of points all over the south, except Charleston.
 

trice

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Sirs, I've always been fascinated with the use of Land Grants. Recruiters were sent to Europe with literature and sales pitches of the wealth and bounty of the cheap available land and promises of each landholder a king. Some of these grants are still held by the descendant railroad corporations. The 'domestication' of these land grant plots not only increased the economic input to the 'grantee' rail lines but also increased the value of the surrounding and near-by acreage. The mid-country and northern routes at least provided some hope to prospective homesteaders as farm land, (up to the eastern side of the Rockies). What possible incentive could the rail companies provide to attract potential settlers to any southern route through west Texas, New Mexico, Arizona, and extreme southern California? The hydrocarbon bonanza was as yet unknown. Mining likewise. Irrigation infrastructure for current crops, (like cotton!), was a long way off. Ranching? Land Grants immediate worth were not only to sell to homesteaders but for loans and increased shareholder value. At the time frame we are reviewing, how much fiscal benefit would have been derived from land grants across New Mexico as opposed to say Nebraska or Minnesota?
3204

Cheers,
USS ALASKA
Sirs, Alaska may have cost much less than the posted price the US paid. The large differential was to repay the Czar.

"It has recently been disclosed that only $1,400,000 of the amount paid to Russia was for the acquisition of Alaska. The remaining $5,800,000 was to reimburse Russia for the expense to which she was put in sending a fleet to New York during the Civil War as a demonstration of friendship for the North." This coming from Muzzey, Vol. II p47, note.

This would make the cost of the purchase per acre at a little less than $0.004. Quite the bargain even if some economists have argued otherwise.
3321

Cheers,
USS ALASKA
The Russians sent their most modern ships to New York (from the Baltic) and San Francisco (from Vladivostok) in 1863 in an attempt to keep them from being blockaded in port. It looked at the time like Europe was about to break out into a major war over the uprising in Poland and Lithuania. The Russian fleet had been penned up by the British and French during the Crimean War and the Russians felt it was better to get the ships away to potentially act as a remote threat than to let them be penned up and useless again. At the time, the US was probably the only "friend" the Russians had in the world.

The Lincoln administration knew nothing about this until the Russian squadron showed up off New York in September 1863 (the Vladivostok squadron showed up off California in October). IIRR, the Russians arrived in New York just after Rosecrans had been defeated at Chickamauga and bottled up in Chattanooga. Given the crisis, the Lincoln administration grabbed for the Russians like they were manna falling from Heaven. Whatever the reason they had come, they were a public relations gift.

I had never heard anything about the US reimbursing the Russians for that 1863-64 visit in the Alaska purchase. I personally doubt that they were and it certainly wasn't arranged in advance., but I suppose that they might have put something like that in as a PR move (either to make the Tsar look good, or to ease the passage through the Senate).
 

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The Russians sent their most modern ships to New York (from the Baltic) and San Francisco (from Vladivostok) in 1863 in an attempt to keep them from being blockaded in port. It looked at the time like Europe was about to break out into a major war over the uprising in Poland and Lithuania. The Russian fleet had been penned up by the British and French during the Crimean War and the Russians felt it was better to get the ships away to potentially act as a remote threat than to let them be penned up and useless again. At the time, the US was probably the only "friend" the Russians had in the world.

The Lincoln administration knew nothing about this until the Russian squadron showed up off New York in September 1863 (the Vladivostok squadron showed up off California in October). IIRR, the Russians arrived in New York just after Rosecrans had been defeated at Chickamauga and bottled up in Chattanooga. Given the crisis, the Lincoln administration grabbed for the Russians like they were manna falling from Heaven. Whatever the reason they had come, they were a public relations gift.

I had never heard anything about the US reimbursing the Russians for that 1863-64 visit in the Alaska purchase. I personally doubt that they were and it certainly wasn't arranged in advance., but I suppose that they might have put something like that in as a PR move (either to make the Tsar look good, or to ease the passage through the Senate).
For an interesting presentation on this, see Webster Tarpley, Russian Fleets in America in 1863. https://www.c-span.org/video/?315198-1/russias-participation-us-civil-war
 

USS ALASKA

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South Carolina ranked 3rd in per capita wealth in 1860, she ranked 37th in 1880.
Understood sir. I would expect a great fall-off of SC after the ACW. Question is - and this thread being about the antebellum period - from the quotes, how can SC be 'impoverished and the '3rd wealthiest state' at the same time? Unless we are talking about a property rich / cash poor situation.
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CSA Today

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Understood sir. I would expect a great fall-off of SC after the ACW. Question is - and this thread being about the antebellum period - from the quotes, how can SC be 'impoverished and the '3rd wealthiest state' at the same time? Unless we are talking about a property rich / cash poor situation.
3811

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If someone said that you need to ask them it wasn't me.
 

uaskme

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Understood sir. I would expect a great fall-off of SC after the ACW. Question is - and this thread being about the antebellum period - from the quotes, how can SC be 'impoverished and the '3rd wealthiest state' at the same time? Unless we are talking about a property rich / cash poor situation.
3811

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USS ALASKA
SC wasn't impoverished. However, since the late teens, slaves and masters were migrating to the Southwest. SC was losing part of its Economy and Population. Which led to a loss of Political power. A big factor behind the push for Railroads. Charleston fell behind NYC Harbor during this period of Cotton expansion. NYC Harbor is going to Explode. So Charleston wants to renew its trade. We know during the Secessionist Winter, Charleston direct trades with England. So, its Ports would handle the Trade.This was a goal of Charleston and the lower South. A TRR would make Charleston a major Port again. RR from Charleston to Memphis. Memphis was one of the proposed TRR Routes.
 

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